On May 1, ten new members joined the European Union. This is the largest group that has so far been admitted to the Union at one go and it is a landmark achievement because it seals the end of the division of the continent. But all the joy should not distract from the fact that the differences in per capita income between old members and new members have never been so large before, implying that the diffi culties of integration have also never been so large before. This begins with the common Constitution that the members of the European Union will have to agree to. It is far from certain that the population will accept the proposal if referenda are held, so that in particular the British decision to hold a referendum could lead to quite an embarrassing result. It is unlikely that the EU could then simply follow the Irish example and keep voting until the desired result is produced. So far it is not clear how the EU could deal with such a blow.
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